3 EASY Steps to Make Photos POP (Explained)

MAKE YOUR PHOTOS BURST WITH COLOR AND TONE WITH THIS TECHNIQUE! | In this Photoshop tutorial, we’ll break down three simple adjustment layer techniques to quickly make any photo look much better!

In this Photoshop tutorial, I’m going to show you the ins and outs of the Curves adjustment layer as well as Color Balance and Selective Color to achieve a great balance of contrast, color, tone, and general overall pop in your photo. The better photo you begin with, the better your finished photo will be, but there is a technique in here for any situation and I think you’ll enjoy what you learn and see in this tutorial! Thanks for checking it out and watching!

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Tutorial Recording Notes:

Disclaimer: these are the actual notes I used to record this video and are written in a language you may or may not understand. Hopefully, you find them useful or cool.

  1. Use Curves to boost the black point to add a slight fade and bring another point in at the shadows leftmost edge and pull down until ALMOST a flat line with the boosted black point.
  2. Add a point about around the midpoint and pull down a little and pull the white point straight down a little bit as well.
  3. Add Color Balance and look to add the color to the tonal ranges you think is appropriate. The more you work with photos, the more you’ll start to know exactly what direction you want to take your photo.
  4. Settings I am using: M: +20/+7/+7 H: +20/0/-10 S: -15/-5/+5 use the opacity slider to cool this treatment off a little if it’s too strong at this point.
  5. Lastly, add the Selective Color: Blacks: 0/0/+5/-10 for the fade and some blue in the darkest shadows
  6. Neutrals: +5/+2/+3/0 to add some Blues/Magentas/Yellows to the midtone range
  7. Drag the Selective Color adjustment below both other adjustment layers to complete the effect
  8. Why not start with Selective Color? Show what happens when you shut off the Curves and Color Balance layers and explain how I prefer to add my base contrast/tonal adjustments first and the faded effect makes the image a little harder for me to gauge in terms of where I want to take it. There is nothing wrong with starting with Selective Color, it’s just not my preferred working method.